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Old 04-09-2019, 08:27 AM   #1
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Is zoysia the answer?


I have been fighting with my front lawn (central NJ) for years and am thinking of planting zoysia plugs later this spring. Half my front lawn is baked in full sun for the entire day and the other half, beyond weird islands of inexplicably lush grass, doesnít seem to want to do much beyond just weakly clinging to existence and capitulating to crabgrass or clover when the opportunity presents. Iíve tried fertilizer, aeration, different brands of seed and nothing seems to work. I need something that, once established, is going to tolerate full days of direct sun, wonít die because it didnít rain while we were away for a long summer weekend, and can deal with a bit of foot traffic from my kids. From what Iíve read, zoysia seems to fit this bill Ė am I off base? Any recommendations on the specific type of zoysia? Many thanks!
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:05 AM   #2
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Re: Is zoysia the answer?


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I have been fighting with my front lawn (central NJ) for years and am thinking of planting zoysia plugs later this spring. Half my front lawn is baked in full sun for the entire day and the other half, beyond weird islands of inexplicably lush grass, doesnít seem to want to do much beyond just weakly clinging to existence and capitulating to crabgrass or clover when the opportunity presents. Iíve tried fertilizer, aeration, different brands of seed and nothing seems to work. I need something that, once established, is going to tolerate full days of direct sun, wonít die because it didnít rain while we were away for a long summer weekend, and can deal with a bit of foot traffic from my kids. From what Iíve read, zoysia seems to fit this bill Ė am I off base? Any recommendations on the specific type of zoysia? Many thanks!
What kind of grass do you have now? Are you right on or near the ocean?

If you're after a nice lawn, you have some work ahead of you. The "weird islands" suggest you have funky soil (horticultural term! not . . ) that's good in some spots and not in others.

First thing, whatever you decide to plant by way of grass, is plan on digging up everything and adding lots of organic decayed stuff, down to at least a foot if you can. Use a tiller if you have to. A big lawn is a big job, but beautiful once done. If you can get or force people to help with the labor, so much the better. The more uniform and better your soil is the better and more uniform your new lawn will be.

Zoysia was widely touted back in the 1970s as a kind of miracle grass.

Like all else, there's good and not so good about it. It's slow to start, slow to grow, but it's also tough and will keep out weeds by sheer density of its turf. I've been told that it's also great near the ocean because it resists salt well.

With time, it can get wrinkled or lumpy looking. The picture below is of a temple type garden in San Diego, California.

I've been told that some cultivars of Zoysia are much better than others.

I'm pretty sure some of our members on Long Guy Land have some direct Zoysia experience near where you are. Mine is in the West Coast, and conditions are a bit different.

In any event, let us know what you do and keep us apprized. Your situation will add to the body of knowledge that benefits us all.
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:51 AM   #3
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Re: Is zoysia the answer?


Thanks for the response. No clue what kind of grass I have now – it’s whatever has survived from various seeding attempts over the years. If zoysia does what I think it’s supposed to do it won’t have much competition. I’m 15-20 miles from the ocean, so it’s not a shore environment. Time constraints and our needs (kids need some use of it) won’t allow me to till the whole lawn. I can aerate and spread turf builder, lime or whatever and water it regularly (in the beginning at least), but beyond that I need the grass to do the heavy lifting. I’m not looking for a perfect lawn, just something that doesn’t die half way through the summer.
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Old 04-09-2019, 12:52 PM   #4
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Re: Is zoysia the answer?


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Thanks for the response. No clue what kind of grass I have now Ė itís whatever has survived from various seeding attempts over the years. If zoysia does what I think itís supposed to do it wonít have much competition. Iím 15-20 miles from the ocean, so itís not a shore environment. Time constraints and our needs (kids need some use of it) wonít allow me to till the whole lawn. I can aerate and spread turf builder, lime or whatever and water it regularly (in the beginning at least), but beyond that I need the grass to do the heavy lifting. Iím not looking for a perfect lawn, just something that doesnít die half way through the summer.
Based on your description, I think time and effort that you take to make it as good as you can will be time well-spent.

Grow your soil, grow your garden. One before the other. Try, if you can, to make the time to take the time. Hard work, but the harder it is, the more important it is.

Maybe take some pictures of your grass? I say that because it might be worth saving. Bear in mind that you likely won't have a nice Zoysia law for a couple of seasons, since it's slow to start, unless you want to spend the money on sod.
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Old 04-09-2019, 03:06 PM   #5
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Re: Is zoysia the answer?


I have never found any grass or ground cover that is easy and cheap to maintain.

If you plant grass you will sink more money into it or you will be back here asking the same questions.

Think about zero-scape (xeriscape) - the worst you get is weeds to pull which you can do standing up with the right tool - or you can flame them with a torch.

No watering - no fertilizer - no cutting - no edging - no raking - no bugs - little weeding.

I've lived in HI, CA, CT, MA, FL and IL.

I've attached a picture of xeriscape in NJ as an example of what you can do.
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Old 04-09-2019, 03:23 PM   #6
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Re: Is zoysia the answer?


@Domo , that's a helluva garden! Looks more like DHS than NJ . . .

But, @jd2870 wants a place for his kids to play, and I think a lawn will work best for that. Though I do agree that lawns are a huge amount to maintain, and why I no longer have one.
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:25 PM   #7
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Re: Is zoysia the answer?


I have zoysia and hate it. (It was here when we bought the house.)

It is a warm-season grass that spreads by runners. It grows best in full sun and warm temperatures and requires at least six hours of sunlight daily to remain healthy.

While a hearty grass that is heat and drought resistant, it is not without its drawbacks.

It is not as deep a green as most other lawn species.

As soon as temperatures turn cooler, it goes dormant meaning it turns brown. Living in NJ, you will be lucky to have 3-4 months of a "green" lawn

It is invasive. It will crowed out out all other species in the lawn and then move to your flower beds and your neighbor’s lawn. Imagine the cost of having to pay to redo your neighbor's prized lawn because your zoysia grass destroyed it.

Prone to thatch problems. I usually have to de-thatch twice a season.

It is near impossible to remove. I tried it one spring. I sprayed the whole thing with grass killer. The lawn turned brown over about three days. A week or so later it was green again.
I have since learned the only way to remove zoysia is to use a sod cutter followed by planting the lawn from scratch, an expense I cannot afford at this time.


In my opinion what little benefit there is to zoysia is not worth the headaches.
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:15 PM   #8
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Re: Is zoysia the answer?


I wish my neighbor's Zoysia lawn would crawl over and take over my crappy Bermuda lawn. In this part of the country Zoysia is the superior choice, and if your lawn is Zoysia it's something to note in the real estate description when it comes time to sell. When I walk on my lawn in the dead of Summer it crunches, when I walk on my neighbor's lawn it's like a new shag carpet.
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:22 AM   #9
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Re: Is zoysia the answer?


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I wish my neighbor's Zoysia lawn would crawl over and take over my crappy Bermuda lawn. In this part of the country Zoysia is the superior choice, and if your lawn is Zoysia it's something to note in the real estate description when it comes time to sell. When I walk on my lawn in the dead of Summer it crunches, when I walk on my neighbor's lawn it's like a new shag carpet.
Wow, didn't think Bermuda grass would grow that far north. It's a southern grass for sure.

Sounds like your B-grass needs some extra water. Give it that, and if it doesn't freeze in winter it's a monster in the growing season, tries to invade your house . . . .
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:23 AM   #10
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Re: Is zoysia the answer?


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I have zoysia and hate it. (It was here when we bought the house.)

It is a warm-season grass that spreads by runners. It grows best in full sun and warm temperatures and requires at least six hours of sunlight daily to remain healthy.

While a hearty grass that is heat and drought resistant, it is not without its drawbacks.

It is not as deep a green as most other lawn species.

As soon as temperatures turn cooler, it goes dormant meaning it turns brown. Living in NJ, you will be lucky to have 3-4 months of a "green" lawn

It is invasive. It will crowed out out all other species in the lawn and then move to your flower beds and your neighbor’s lawn. Imagine the cost of having to pay to redo your neighbor's prized lawn because your zoysia grass destroyed it.

Prone to thatch problems. I usually have to de-thatch twice a season.

It is near impossible to remove. I tried it one spring. I sprayed the whole thing with grass killer. The lawn turned brown over about three days. A week or so later it was green again.
I have since learned the only way to remove zoysia is to use a sod cutter followed by planting the lawn from scratch, an expense I cannot afford at this time.


In my opinion what little benefit there is to zoysia is not worth the headaches.
Thank you for your thoughts!

I have friends in Ohio who are contemplating Z-Grass, and I'll pass along what you and @ChuckF said.
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:46 AM   #11
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Re: Is zoysia the answer?


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It is near impossible to remove. I tried it one spring. I sprayed the whole thing with grass killer. The lawn turned brown over about three days. A week or so later it was green again.
I have since learned the only way to remove zoysia is to use a sod cutter followed by planting the lawn from scratch, an expense I cannot afford at this time.

IDK about that part, my neighbor had a zoysia lawn and took alot of pride in it. After he passed the property went unmaintained and the lawn died off in less than a summer. Been maybe 2 years now and nothing remains of that lush green lawn now but the weeds are certainly enjoying the freedom.
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:43 AM   #12
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Re: Is zoysia the answer?


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IDK about that part, my neighbor had a zoysia lawn and took alot of pride in it. After he passed the property went unmaintained and the lawn died off in less than a summer. Been maybe 2 years now and nothing remains of that lush green lawn now but the weeds are certainly enjoying the freedom.
What is the geographic location?

In a predominantly warm location zoysia will thrive. In cooler climates, it does not do as well.
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Old 04-10-2019, 12:51 PM   #13
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Re: Is zoysia the answer?


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What is the geographic location?

In a predominantly warm location zoysia will thrive. In cooler climates, it does not do as well.
It certainly seems to do well here in California, at least in coastal areas that are relatively warm.
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Old 04-10-2019, 01:00 PM   #14
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Re: Is zoysia the answer?


Forget it. You are to far north for a summer grass to be a good option.
Plus you will have to sod. Or plug in the grass and wait 5 - 10 years for a good lawn.

You need bent grass or tall fescue and seed every fall until it gets established. Then of course the 3 times a year fertilizer.
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Old 04-10-2019, 06:25 PM   #15
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Re: Is zoysia the answer?


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What is the geographic location?

In a predominantly warm location zoysia will thrive. In cooler climates, it does not do as well.

Northern NM, lots of sun and lots of heat. It might be a good grass (I thought it always looked nice) but I think it's funny you are trying to get rid of it and having a hard time yet I would have liked to see that lawn survive and it's totally gone in no time without anything sprayed or applied. We're also very dry so maybe you have enough humidity that it can survive maybe even thrive in that.
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